OBITUARY

Chemweno: Legendary farmer and Moi pupil dies at 91

His children remember him a strict disciplinarian who taught them hard work and respect.

In Summary

• Chemweno died on November 11 aged 91.

• He is survived by 38 great-grandchildren and 15 great great-grandchildren.

William Chemweno believed in pursuing one’s passion no matter the circumstances.  

As a boy, he loved farming and livestock, so he studied agriculture and survey. From start to finish, his life was about agriculture, land and associated business. 

Chemweno died on November 11 aged 91. He is survived by 38 great-grandchildren and 15 great great-grandchildren. He had 14 children with his two wives; Teresa and Veronicah. 

The staunch Catholic will be buried on Friday, November 20 at his Kipkapai farm in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet county. 

Chemweno was a student of President Daniel Moi at Tambach Intermediate School. Later, he went to Jeans school to study agriculture and soil survey. 

From training, he rolled up his sleeves and went into farming. Chemweno bought his first tractor in 1956 at the height of the Mau Mau war of Independence.

He never looked back, rising to be known for large scale farming of maize, barley and livestock. 

Chemweno also served in the land controls board of Uasin Gishu from 1963 to 2003. At some point, he also worked as an agricultural extension officer in the area.

Proving passion and determination in any field yield much, President Mwai Kibaki recognised his work in the agriculture and lands sector, awarding him a Head of State Commendation in December 2006.

So soaked in the sector was he that in the 90s he stood up to the government on agricultural policies.

He, alongside Stephanus Kruger, mobilised farmers to protest against policies he considered unfavourable. They brought Eldoret to a standstill with the protests.

Chemweno also protested against non-dairy farmers’ appointment as KCC directors.

For his vociferousness, some farmers fronted him for a position at KCC. He lost. Some say he was rigged out by the powerful forces he had antagonised.

At some point, Chemweno partnered with Mzee Jackson Kibor in a beer distribution business. He also invested in commercial and residential real estate in urban areas.

Chemweno also tried his hand at carpentry to pass time, making his wives kitchen tables as a gesture of love. 

His children remember him a strict disciplinarian who taught them hard work, perseverance, discipline and respect. 

 

(edited by o. owino)